While sitting with Mark in his living room, I told him that one of my favorite verses is First John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Then I asked him, “Have you come to the place where you know you have eternal life?” At first he said yes. So I probed further. “Really? You know for certain that you have eternal life?” Then he backed down. “Well, I hope I do. I could lose it.” My challenge to him: “But what about this verse? It says that we can KNOW that we have eternal life! Doesn’t the word “eternal” mean that it lasts forever? How could it end? What sin could I possibly commit that would cause me to lose my eternal life?”
This has become my conversation starter with every JW I meet, in the Kingdom Hall or wherever. I usually tell them I’m excited about what I have been discovering in the Bible, and here’s one of my favorite verses, that I’m particularly excited about. Then I share I John 5:13 and ask if they have the assurance of eternal life. Their response is always exactly as my conversation with Mark (above). It’s almost like they’re playing a recording. At first they want to say that yes, they have eternal life. But if you press the issue, they back off and admit that they don’t have that assurance. I said to one JW, “It sounds like you don’t really have that assurance, but instead you’re living in fear.” They paused for about 20 seconds, then said, “Yes, I do have that fear.” Wow–I thanked them for their honest answer.